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The Rest Of The Story: Age Group Drama at XTERRA Alabama

– By Jordan Winar

It is here! This weekend is the 13th annual XTERRA-Oak Mountain triathlon. It’s a stacked field with the best in the nation showing up to see who the best of the best is in off road triathlon, and a chance to qualify to show he or she is one of the best in the world. One story reminds me of the scene from Top-Gun when Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Iceman (Val Kilmer) banter back and forth about who will be the best fighter pilot which will be the best at the end of the class.

In this case, Andy Lee from Austin, Texas has blood as cold as ice and Marcus Barton of Charlotte, North Carolina is as cool as Maverick.

They are both great guys and would save you from a burning building or chat you up in the transition area pre or post race. But who is the best?

Depends who you ask.

This past week the USA triathlon ranked Andy above Marcus in the age group and it was a victory for the XTERRA South Central athletes as it stirred up some emotion in the South East camp.

USAT Regional Rankings
USAT Regional Rankings

In fact, there have been rumors, all unclaimed, that they split up the regions before the season to disperse from the vast amount of talent in the South Central region. Top amateurs like Dan Ballheimer, Mike Drackert, and Mike Barro were moved to the MidWest Region but it still left Kyle Grieser, Hans Ryham, Chuck Olinger, and Andrew Kelsey with top honors  and they all live in the same state of Texas.

Lee and Barton won’t be racing just for personal accolades, they will be racing to represent their region.

While Lee and Barton are lightning fast and we all will be watching them to see if they could pull off a victory, this isn’t about them racing each other… the real story is THEM verse everyone else for this edition of The Rest Of The Story.


Marcus Barton, Andy Lee, and Tom Brady all have something in common. They are still crushing it in their respective sports as 40+ year olds. It’s not just the age, all three of these legends also work to put themselves in positions to win, and Marcus and Andy have a chance to win this weekend at XTERRA Oak Mountain in the amateur overall.

Pinch yourself, because we are living in the golden age of human history and will be witnessing it unfold this weekend. As Tom Brady says, “he might have less tread on his tires, but he’s a much better driver.” that goes without saying for Lee and Barton. They have over a decade of grit and experience in off road racing under their belts. What’s amazing about both of them is that they continue to get faster, year after year. And this weekend isn’t about regions or rankings it’s all about your time.

While they are crushing us on the course it should give us all hope and excitement for the future. If you’re 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60+ you should learn from them that you still have a lot more power under the hood to unleash. Let these guys be our inspiration.

The other piece of this crazy puzzle is the insane quality of elite level PRO athletes on the cusp of greatness and it will only make this sport continue to get better with age as their legacies continue to grow year after year. Could a 40,41 or 42 year old become a world champion this fall?

It’s only a matter of time!

Until then, keep your eyes on Lee and Barton this weekend and take their lead and get up and get outdoors and on the trails and sign up for an XTERRA.

Young or old, they have given us no more room for excuses and whether you will be cheering for Barton or Lee it’s going to be a great weekend at Oak Mountain State Park!

About Jordan Winar

The Rest of the Story series is contributed by off-road triathlete and freelance writer, Jordan Winar

Jordan competed in his first ever triathlon April 22, 2017. Prior to this, he had never competed in any triathlons, bike races, or outdoor swimming competitions. Jordan competed in 12 XTERRA events over the following 5 months, eventually qualifying for the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii.

Jordan attributes his success to his newly found Vegan lifestyle and The Gazelle Mindset.




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